Shirley MacLaine Set to Return to Downton Abbey, Show Adds Six New Characters
Spoiler Alert: This casting news includes some Downton Abbey season three spoilers. Scroll down for the full story.
According to TV Line, NBC Universal’s Carnival Films and Masterpiece PBS have announced that Shirley MacLaine will return to Downton Abbey for season four’s Christmas episode. Six new characters will also be added to the cast including a love interest for the newly widowed Lady Mary Crawley.
MacLaine, who has been absent since the first two episodes of season three, will return to the role of Martha Levinson, Cora’s mother as well as the American rival of Maggie Smith’s Violet Grantham. Dame Harriet Walters will also visit the Grantham family as the Dowager Countess’ friend Lady Shackleton.
With the recent devastating departure of Downton heir Matthew Crawley, the eldest Grantham daughter, of course, needs a new beau. Welsh actor Tom Cullen is attached to play Lord Anthony Gillingham, a longtime family friend of the Crawleys who has also known Lady Mary since childhood.
According to Deadline, opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will visit the manor and perform for the family. Because the Granthams can never have too many fancy guests, Julien Ovendon will also join the cast as aristocrat Charles Blake and Joanne David will guest star as the Duchess of Yeovil.
On the other side of Downton, Nigel Harman will join the downstairs crew as a new valet named Green.
Downton Abbey, which was created by Julian Fellowes, has earned seven Emmys and the cast recently won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at this year’s SAG Awards.
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